Seniors Are Embracing Technology: From Healthcare Needs To Binge Watching
Just call them ‘Silver Techies’. Medicare eligible seniors are now embracing technology and loving it.
Six in ten Medicare eligible seniors are embracing technology more during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new healthinsurance.com survey.
Seniors are now using technology for their healthcare needs. A Health Insurance survey reveals an incredible 340% increase in telemedicine usage among Medicare recipients since the start of COVID-19. One-third report ordering their prescriptions from an online pharmacy.
And it’s not just telemedicine and the internet; nearly one-third say they monitor their health using a wearable. In fact, 4 in 10 are interested in a wearable that helps them and those around them maintain appropriate social distance.
The survey also explores seniors’ internet usage, healthcare cost concerns, Medicare enrollment, grandma and grandpa’s binge-watching habits, and more.
The current pandemic is affecting seniors’ daily habits and family life; 38% haven’t seen their kids or grandkids in person since mid-March. More than half have put off a dentist appointment because of COVID-19. Six in ten have only left the house to go food shopping or to the pharmacy during COVID-19. On the flip side, 27% say they have left their house whenever they wanted during the pandemic.
35% are worried about contracting COVID-19 because they may be hit with a surprise bill. Nearly 4 in 10 think those who have a Medicare Advantage plan and who contract COVID-19 are getting better care. 12% used the special enrollment period to enroll in Medicare during COVID-19.
Telemedicine is trending
Telemedicine is trending among those on Medicare. Prior to COVID-19, only 1 in 10 used telemedicine. During COVID-19, 44% have used it, and 43% say they intend on using it after. Of those who used telemedicine, 58% say they have used it just once, and 30% report using it once a month.
Two-thirds of those who haven’t tried telemedicine said the reason is simply because they haven’t needed the service.
Grandparents are binge watching
Binge-watching doesn’t have an age limit; 75% of respondents say they have a smart TV or use a streaming device, with 47% admitting to binge-watching.
But Grandma and Grandpa aren’t totally sold on cutting the cord. In fact, 66% of seniors still have Cable TV.
Liking social media
A majority of senior citizens are hitting the like button; 73% are on social media, with 83% saying they use Facebook the most. 52% say they use social media to stay in touch with family and friends, and 21% say they use it to get news.
Making use of video chatting
Seniors are using technology to stay in touch with both family and friends during COVID-19. More than half video chat with their kids and grandkids at least once a month, with 50% saying they video chat more since the start of COVID-19. And it’s not just with family, 32% say they video chat with their friends.
Satisfied with smartphones
Nine in ten seniors say they have a smartphone and like to use it. 71% say their preferred method of communication is either texting or talking on their cell phone. And it’s not just smartphones; two-thirds say they also have some type of tablet. 11% have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to start using a smartphone.
Regarding the upcoming election, nine in ten say lowering drug prices is important to them. 68% say the economy and healthcare are the two most important issues to them in the 2020 election.
How seniors are going to vote is split; 58% say they will vote via a mail in ballot, and 42% say they will vote in person in November.
When asked about the outlook of the United States, 84% say they haven’t seen the country more divided in their lifetime than it is now.
Medicare enrollment habits
Nearly 8 in 10 research their Medicare options online, but not all beneficiaries enroll online; 44% sign up using the internet, and the remaining 56% sign up either in person or on the phone.
When looking for a plan, 4 in 10 look for a Medicare plan that accepts their doctor. For 26%, a Medicare plan with low monthly premiums and copays is most important, while 22% are looking for a plan that has extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing or fitness programs.
More than two-thirds with a Medicare Advantage plan are happy with it. Two in ten intend to use the annual enrollment period beginning in October to adjust their current plan. 26% say they intend to switch from an Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, and 22% plan to change their prescription drug plan. When asked if the age to be eligible for Medicare should be lowered to 60, 51% said yes.
Healthcare cost worries
Two-thirds are worried about out-of-pocket medical costs. Six in ten are worried about an unexpected medical bill, so much so that 36% have put off seeing a doctor because of cost. 89% think prescription drug prices are too high. One-third spend more than $50 a month on prescription drugs.
As far as future costs are concerned, 50% of respondents say they have money set aside for their family to use for their health needs.
View the full survey results here.